The company service bus arrived at the main gate waiting shed at 10:30pm. As usual, the incoming shifters including myself, rushed and elbowed their way to the choicest seats in the bus. I wasn't fast enough though, so I was among those who had to stand along the bus aisle with the other night-shift workers. Then I felt something squeezed through between my legs. Looking down laboriously, I saw the rear end of a dog now half-way through between the legs of the man behind me. I half-expected a complaint which indeed came in the form of a shout moments later.

"Buysit na ning iro-a! Goot na kaayo dinhi, mosoksok pa gyud. Pagawasa nyo na!" ("Damn this dog! Also fighting for space when it's already too tight here. Take it out!")

Chastised, the dog shamefully crept under one of the seats and lay there silently like an embarassed man who suddenly had everybody's attention directed towards him. He stayed motionless during the trip, perhaps to show that he's a 'no-trouble' dog and to regain his pinched dignity. When I alighted in front of the Scale House, I noticed that the dog likewise did and traipsed familiarly beside a security guard, who I guessed, was his boss.

A friend said that he also had noticed the same dog on several occasions. His favorite incident was when also on night shift duty, he got off at the Scale House together with three security guards and the dog (who wrongly anticipated his master's assignment). When the sevice bus moved on, the dog noticed to his dismay that his master wasn't among the guards who alighted. Realizing his mistake, he turned about swiftly and dashed after the moving bus barking what, in the dog's language, meant "Hey, stop! STOP!". The bus driver of course didn't speak the dog's lingo, and so drove on with the poor dog close on his "wheels".

My later inquiries revealed that the dog's name is Bulldog. It makes one wonder how he got this name because except for being a dog, Bulldog doesn't possess the slightest resemblance to any member of the bulldog clan. That's not to mention his unseemly short tail, which I think is just convenient because service bus passengers can't possibly step on it.

Anyway, Bulldog is just one of the dogs some night-shift security guards bring with them to their posts. The dogs not only serve as companions to the guards manning lonely guard-houses at night, but are themselves good, if not better guards than their master. Equipped with ultra-sharp senses, they are quick to detect arriving persons and vehicles even before their masters get an inkling of anybody's approach.

Take the case Koogler. An SOG (Special Operations Group) guard I've talked with can only heap praises on this dog. The dog, he said, has been very well trained. Koogler possesses such loyalty to his master that he won't respond to calls by anybody other than his boss. Give him food and he won't touch it unless with a go-signal from his owner. But his best quality is his being a good security dog. At home, a burglar won't take chances with Koogler around. In the line of duty with his master, he doesn't fail to bark a warning everytime a person approaches the guard house - reason why his master is never caught sleeping on duty by his superiors, somebody joked.

There was a time, however, when Koogler got lost. His master who was going to Masbate, took a jeepney ride from Bari-is to Aroroy, positioning himself on the crowded vehicle's rooftop (this is a common sight in Philippine rural areas which foreigners probably cannot imagine). Unknown to him, Koogler had followed but not having the faculties to climb to the jeepney's roof, accommodated himself inside the jeepney along with the other passengers. In Aroroy, his master got off near the pier but the unwarned Koogler alighted with most of the passengers at the jeepney terminal. He found himself looking for his master, who had boarded a motorized boat for Masbate, in an unfamiliar place.

Koogler's disappearance was discovered only when his master returned from Masbate the following day. He at once looked for Koogler from Bari-is to Aroroy asking acquaintances along the way if they'd seen his dog. After three days, he lost hope of ever finding Koogler again.

At that time, a family living in a barrio near Aroroy discovered that they had a strange dog for a visitor. The dog, they observed for the past few days, slept at their place at night but left in the morning as if on a search. The dog barely touched the food they served him but just lay silently and disconsolately in a corner. They took pity of the dog but decided to just leave him alone.

Then came a friend of Koogler's owner with the good news that he saw a dog resembling Koogler in a particular barrio. The guard immediately went to the place he was told and called Koogler's name. To his relief, he heard a bark which was unmistakably Koogler's. Moments later, he saw his dog excitedly running toward him. Koogler then jumped happily toward his master and the guard caught his dog-friend in his arms. It was a dramatic reunion scene which you'd say was lifted straight from a tear-jerker film.

But this story really happened and it ought to teach us one thing - that if a man and a beast could be the best of friends, why can't man be to man?

-- END --

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